Are you from New York, even? Princess Nokia brings the early 2000s flow with her new single “No Effort” — and makes us envious of her puffer jacket-rockin’ crew as she “reclaims the co-opted aesthetic” and “brings it back to Harlem” in the song’s video.
“Look at me, so clean, no effort/Ponytail, ripped jeans, no effort,” she raps in the chorus. “Face clean, gold ring, no effort/Insane, my chain, big pressure.”
The visual follows Princess Nokia hanging out with her friends, all sporting North Face puffer jackets, at an East Harlem park as they show off their dance moves and, well, effortless looks. The video is inspired by a photo from a 1996 New York Magazine article by Nancy Jo Sales titled “Prep-School Gangsters.” The cover story delved into the story of a group of rich kids at New York’s upscale private schools who fetishized hip-hop culture and committed petty crimes.
“Understanding the subject of the article and the ironic juxtaposition of social and economic representation,” Nokia wrote, “I wanted to recreate the photo and symbolize the beauty of the actual inner city [from a] female perspective.”
For the rapper, “No Effort” retells the “story of sisterhood and the origins of our backgrounds and upbringings.” In other words, it’s a “love letter to the girls in the hood.” The video was dedicated to Sebastian Sdaugui, the New York City-based film and music video director who died in February.
The track is the first taste of what Nokia described as a “new era. new music. same me.” She dropped the single “It’s Not My Fault” last year, and albums Everything Is Beautiful and Everything Sucks in 2020. Nokia is set to perform at Coachella in April and will open for Haim at Madison Square Garden in May.